Customer Reviews: The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste
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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on April 19, 2016
One of the best books I have read on the contemporary wine world. What the author knows and brings as background knowledge is the product of years of thoughtful association with Parker, his disciples and his enemies.
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on September 17, 2006
Elin McCoy's 'Emperor of Wine' is an absorbing account of the rise of wine critic Robert Parker and his influence on the international wine industry. McCoy's biography works on a number of levels:

--as a Horatio Alger saga of a rise to fortune and prominence through passion and hard work;

--as a business biography about the creation of influence and wealth by filling an emerging niche;

--as an examination of the cultural and economic forces that have shaped wine consumption over the past 30 years.

I enjoy wine, but am hardly an expert on the subject. I had a vague awareness of Robert Parker, but had no idea of the extent to which he has shaped consumer wine options in the past two decades. But even on the basis of my casual consumption of wine, it is clear that Parker's preference for big, fruity reds and oaky whites have consistently pushed certain wine-making styles to the head of the class in the American liquor store and on the American restaurant menu.

Has Parker's influence been helpful or harmful? Probably both, in Elin McCoy's assessment. On the one hand, Parker has made wine more accessible to consumers, held producers accountable for their product, and conducted himself ethically in an industry often characterized by shadowy alliances and influence peddling. At the same time, Parker's ability to move markets in accordance with his palate has led to considerable reduction of local diversity in wine production, as producers in the U.S., France and Italy flock to develop wines that reflect his preferences.

Any deficiencies in 'Emperor of Wine'? McCoy seems to take an uncommon interest in Parker's weight gain over a 30-year career. Granted, weight gain is probably an occupational hazard for someone who tastes thousands of wines annually, but McCoy's continuing preoccupation with the topic is eventually jarring, and makes one wonder if she is taking a covert jab at her subject.

Overall, however, I found Elin McCoy's portrayal of Robert Parker and the international wine industry absorbing and even-handed. Despite his occasional arrogance (at least as depicted by McCoy), there is much to like about Parker, including his level-headedness, his generosity, his integrity, and his devotion to his wife and daughter. As well, this story of Coke-drinking lad from small-town Maryland making it big in the world of international wine is heartening to those of us who enjoy a story about a little guy who persists and wins.

Whether you are an occasional wine drinker or serious oenophile, the 'Emperor of Wine' should make an absorbing read. Highly recommended.
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on January 14, 2016
I wasn't familiar with Robert Parker before reading this book, so I was looking for just enough detail without getting overwhelmed. Not the definitive biography but it clearly doesn't set out to be. Nice work on a polarizing figure.
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on August 21, 2005
This book explains how Robert Parker has materially changed demand, tastes and marketing of wines worldwide. One can agree or disagree with Parker's particular tastes but as Elin MCoy well explains his influence has been dramatic. Many traditionalist violently disagree with Parker (see New York Times Book review) but they are limited to ad hominem attacks when they try to belittle his effect on the trade. A most important book.
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on June 9, 2016
We give this book as a small gift to our friends that show even a vague interest in wine. We think this book is fabulous.
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on August 21, 2007
I loved this book. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. If you are into wine and subscribe to Parker's website or newsletter this is a must read. A fasinating perspective on the world's most influencial wine critic.
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on July 11, 2006
Robert M. Parker Jr. may indeed be "The Emperor of Wine," but I, Brian Moore - after some negotiations with the Busch and Guinness duchies performed at or about princely urinals - have been declared "Laird of Beer." You may rise.
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on September 7, 2005
good book- easy read -not much wine information but a lot of data on other wine writers. reads like fiction- easy to pick up and put down.
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